CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of Tampa softball team upset #22 Valdosta State on day three of the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Spartans defeated the Blazers for the first time since 2008, and this was VSU's first loss of the season.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 2 (W: Makaleigh Dooley, 3-0), #22 Valdosta State 1 (L: Kasie Johnson, 3-1)
Records: University of Tampa Spartans (6-1), #22 Valdosta State University Blazers (8-1)
Location: Eddie C. Moore Complex || Clearwater, Fla.
All-Time Series: The Blazers hold a firm grip on the series as they lead 32-8, and the Spartans snapped an 11-game losing streak which dated back to 2009.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
TOP 2nd: Sam Worrell led off the second inning with a 15-pitch battle, and the senior worked a walk to win the at-bat. Worrell advanced to second on a passed ball as Valdosta State's catcher Logan Hill could not squeeze the pitch. Bailey Phillips hit the ball off the end of the bat, to the first-basemen, but the defender bobbled the ball and Phillips beat the throw at first. Maddie Farrell approached the plate with runners at the corners, and scolded a line-drive right back up the middle to give UT an early lead.
BOT 5th: VSU's Haley Garrett singled through the left-side to begin the inning and Fallyn Johnson pinch ran for Garrett. Johnson stole second base and advanced to third on a fielders choice by Cristina Clauberg. Clauberg threw the ball away which allowed the batter to move to second base. VSU's Natalia Bellinger hit a dribbler back to Dooley, but the senior heistated and threw to first base which allowed the run to score from third.
TOP 6th: Freshman, Stephanie Balmer, led off the sixth inning with a frozen-rope double down the left field line. Clauberg moved Balmer to third on a sacrifice bunt, and Worrell drove in the go-ahead run with a laser in between short and third.
BOT 7th: The Blazers found life in the final inning as the lead-off hitter singled to left-field. However, the next batter was called out on batters interference which put the momentum back in Dooley's favor. The preseason all-american forced a pop-out in foul territory and capped off the victory with a strikeout, blown right past the VSU hitter.
INSIDE THE STATS:
- Makaleigh Dooley pitched her fourth complete game in as many starts; the senior logged 28 strikeouts in three games this weekend.
- Worrell went 1-2 with the go-ahead RBI, and she started the scoring in the second with her 15-pitch at-bat.
- When runners were on base, Dooley held the VSU offense to 2-for-16 at the plate.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
- Tampa's started off the season 6-1 in three of the last five years.
- For the first time since 2008, the Spartans defeated Valdosta State.
UP NEXT: The University of Tampa will travel to Eckerd next weekend for a three-game series starting on Friday night, as first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and Saturday's doubleheader is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.
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